Archives for Inspiration
How do we engage with life to be actively creative, but not overwhelmed by circumstances or inner challenges? How do artists think about using creative talents? Julia Cameron first published her acclaimed book on the creative life "The Artist's Way" in 1992, and has written many other non-fiction titles, short stories and essays, as well as novels, plays, musicals, and screenplays. A teacher, author, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, composer and journalist, she clearly knows how to be creative and productive.
The photo is food writer and TV show host Nigella Lawson in her London library. She is author of multiple books and, apparently, a dedicated reader. What can we do to be more engaged and prolific in our creative thinking and work? Author and mentor Julia McCutchen shares a number of ideas in her article below.
Creativity is one of the most joyful and meaningful parts of being alive. And for many people, creative expression is not so much a choice as a spiritual necessity. But creative work can be emotionally challenging and stressful, and we need to renew and reboot to keep pursuing excellence.
Does being calm or happy help us be creative? Does feeling sad or anxious always inhibit creative thinking? Some researchers find that "mixing together both positive and negative emotions can help facilitate creativity" - as noted in the book "Wired to Create" - more on that below. One example of a creative person with an emotionally complex life is humanitarian, actor and author Ashley Judd, who is also a United Nations / UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador.
Do you get creative ideas in the shower? Do you have any routines or schedules to help encourage your creative thinking and work? Many artists do. But E. B. White (Stuart Little; Charlotte's Web, among other titles) cautioned: "A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper." Quoted in her Brain Pickings post The Daily Routines of Great Writers by Maria Popova. She comments in a related post: "The notion that if only we could replicate the routines of great minds, we’d be able to reverse-engineer their genius is, of course, an absurd one — yet an alluring one nonetheless."
In his book “Literature and the Brain,” Professor Norman N. Holland details how we may respond so deeply in both creating and experiencing literature – novels, plays, poems, tv and movies – and the neuropsychology underlying our often intense engagement with stories and characters. Holland comments on one primal story that so many of us enjoy:
Although acclaimed as an actor, Jamie Lee Curtis says she finds writing "way more" artistically satisfying for her than acting. Her multiple children's books "address core childhood subjects and life lessons in a playful, accessible way," her Amazon.com bio notes. One of those important subjects is adoption, which is the topic of "Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born."
Some forms of creative expression – such as acting and filmmaking – involve collaborating with other people. But a number of artists make use of isolation and do their best creative work alone. One example: George Orwell chose to write “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (from about 1946-1949) while living in Barnhill (photo), an abandoned farmhouse on the isle of Jura in the Inner Hebrides.
"Follow your bliss." Joseph Campbell That kind of advice continues to be part of what many coaches teach to realize success and fulfillment in life. But does "Find your passion" work for everyone? In an interview for Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday, writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this pursuit.
"Energy is the key to creativity. Energy is the key to life." William Shatner We need more than ideas to be creative, we need passion and energy. Being productive in most creative ventures takes ongoing motivation and resolve. Some situations and people fuel our emotional energy, and some suck it away. How can we deal with that kind of energy drain?